If you’re looking for safe cycling, don’t go to Iowa. Five of the 10 most dangerous cities for bicyclists can be found in the midwestern state — Webster City, Waterloo, Sioux City, Johnston and Des Moines — according to a new report from security company ADT. The company also lists Los Angeles, New York and Houston among the finalists for that dubious category.
Most dangerous cities for cyclists. (Courtesy of ADT)
ADT considered the number of bike commuters, protected bike lanes and cyclist-friendly laws, while factoring in the number of fatal crashes, the WCF Courier reports. And while some of the company’s findings overlap with previous bike safety reports, it’s a helpful look at many of the smaller cities that more well-known organizations often overlook.
Davis, California, for example, tops the list of safest cities for cyclists (no surprise there, considering Davis is essentially built around a massive employment center, UC Davis, that’s closed to cars). Eugene, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; and Palo Alto, California, also made the cut.
Safest Cities for Cyclists. (Courtesy of ADT)
The company’s data also highlights some interesting and previously under-reported trends — for example, that Missoula, Montana, reports that more than 7% of residents use cycling as a main method of transportation to work (this ranks #6 out of the cities researched). However, statewide Montana scored 0 in bike-law categories.
In Iowa, cyclists have a legal right to roadways, but must adhere to the same traffic rules as vehicles, according to The Courier. Some cities have been trying to educate cyclists as to just what those traffic laws are, but, as Next City has covered, such education is rarely as effective as comprehensive bike infrastructure. One reason: Infrastructure brings out more cyclists, who create what’s often referred to as the “safety in numbers” principle.
As one well-known safety-tracker has put it: “The ‘safety in numbers’ research indicates that more bikers on the road makes drivers more aware of bikers — and more drivers have had the experience of biking.”
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian.